LAHORE    -    As second phase of talks over China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement is under process, the business community has suggested the government to devise a strategy in the light of impact on domestic industry, convincing China to liberalize its import policy by reducing tariff lines and easing sensitive list for Pakistan merchandise.All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Ibrahim Qureshi said that during the first phase of FTA with China, Pakistan's trade deficit has improved from $2.9 billion to over $12 billion over the last decade.He suggested that Pakistan should enter into FTA and Preferential Trade Agreements with only those countries where it has a clear and mutual competitive advantage. That local cost of production is already high on account of electricity and gas outages, coupled with import duties on inputs, making the local production uncompetitive.The APBF president said that Pakistan's trade deficit has increased to $30.9 billion in 2016-17 due to high imports of machinery for CPEC infrastructure projects.He said that imports have increased by $5.5 billion with an investment of $9.5 billion under CPEC in last fiscal year and if this trend continues the figure of import might increase to $58.7 billion in 2017-18.He said that FTA signed with different countries including Malaysia and China, without taking the stakeholders onboard, are damaging the local industry, as imports of several products under FTA with these countries are subject to zero percent import duty.On the other hand, local processors are unable to export their products to these countries as they are absolutely uncompetitive owing to hosts of reasons, he said.The APBF president asked the government that all impediments which increase the cost such as lower capacity utilization, import duties on inputs and lack of protection against imports need to be addressed for making exports feasible.The government has to convince Beijing to take special measures in the wake of our declining exports by granting concession on import of Pakistani goods before finalizing the revised FTA.Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan central chairman Samee Ullah Naeem said that rice exports to China has plunged to $105 million in the previous fiscal year from a peak of $277 million in the 2015-16, because of stiff competition with Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, as these countries enjoy relaxed tariffs from China being members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.He called for lobbying Chinese authorities for some tariff relaxations to help Pakistan exporters regain the lost ground in the Chinese rice market."REAP is hopeful that when the government of Pakistan sign the amended FTA in March, the Pakistani exporters will gain easier access for rice," he said.